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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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256                               LIFE   OF
He was fornaed for love and friendship, spent a great
part of Ms life In confidential intercourse with
chosen spirits, and remained throughout life true to
those on whom he had once bestowed his affection,
his esteem, or his confidence. He was the same in
happiness as in misfortune; and above all, he kept
holy the impressions of his youthful years. The
names of G. Forster, F. A. Wolf, Schiller, Goethe,
recur frequently in Humboldt/s life. They illustrate
and exalt Ms glorious personality, and his name shines
as constantly in the annals of their life.
But above every feeling" of friendship rose that of
fraternal love. In it the tenderest and most affec-
tionate sensations were blended on both sides, and
the noblest confidence, the purest esteem charac-
terised the brothers throughout the long course of their"
lives, when united or separated. Only two feelings
were perhaps higher still than this sentiment, that
which subsequently united William, to Ms wife, and his
love for Schiller. To meet these two again was the
thought which alone occupied his mind in his last hours.
We must now resume our account of Humboldtfs
life, and return to his stay at Gottingeii. In the
autumn of 1738 he made a journey on the Rhine,
and spent four days in the company of Forster,, who
had some time before taken up his residence in May-
ence, as councillor and librarian to the university
there. He describes these four clays as the happiest
of the whole journey, aald felt as gratified as surprised
by the affectionate kindness he met with. Forster^s
wife, afterwards the wife of the author Huber, took a
lively interest in the discussions of the men ; Hum-
boldt calls her one of the first of women, and re-
mained her friend until his death. Forster himself
gave the talented youth a letter to F. Jacobi, the
philosopher, whom Humboldt did not neglect to visit.
Such a celebrated personage was important and
instructive for our young Ehimboldt, who could not
fail to be interested, for a time at least, by a man
who constituted himself the opponent of Kant, and